Caudill Book of the Week!
2019 Caudill Nominees!
Have you read any of the 2019 Caudill Books?
20 books are nominated every year for the Caudill Award, and they are displayed in the Youth Services Department.
Take a look at our staff review for this week’s featured book!
Title: One Half from the East
Author: Nadia Hashimi
Lexile Level: not available
Recommendations & Comments: 10-year-old Obayda is the youngest of four girls in her Afghan family. When her policeman father loses a leg in a suicide bombing, the family has to move from Kabul to a small rural town to be near their extended family. Their father, depressed, never leaves his room, and there’s not much for the girls to do in town. But things go from bad to worse when a nosy, bossy aunt suggests that the family’s fortunes would be reversed if only they had a boy instead of all girls.
How to fix that situation? Make Obayda into Obayd, a boy. Surprising as it might seem, the practice is not uncommon in traditional Afghan culture, and there is even a name for it: Obayda becomes a bacha posh, a girl with a boy’s haircut, clothes and mannerisms. She is full of fear and anger as she reluctantly adopts her new identity, and it is not easy to go to the boys’ division of the school and to learn to act and talk like a boy. Since boys don’t help with chores at home, and get bigger and more nutritious portions of the family meals than girls do, Obayda’s sisters become resentful.
Once Obayda adjusts to being Obayd, however, she experiences the freedom, power and opportunities that come with being male in a country village in Afghanistan. Her mentor in learning masculine ways is Rahim (previously Rahima), a bacha posh who is a few years older than she is. Sharing their secret makes Obayd and Rahim good friends. They have adventures that would have been impossible for them as girls. But life as a bacha posh has an expiration date – what will happen as their teenage years approach and the girls’ secret becomes unsustainable? The outcome is different for each of the friends, and reveals the powerful role that gender and tradition play in contemporary Afghanistan.
One Half from the East is a fascinating story, beautifully told, with an engaging plot, vivid, sympathetic characters, and much food for thought.
Stars: 5 out of 5
Reviewed By: Mary Donovan
Click Here for a List of all 20 Caudill Nominees
Created by Jen Trotta on
May 30th, 2018 @ 6:41 PM.
Updated on Oct 18th, 2018 @ 3:43 PM.